Each day over 35 million plastic bottles are used within the UK, with nearly half of that figure failing to be put into recycling bins.
New data published by the Government’s Recycle Now campaign states that the number of plastic bottles evading recycling centres could be as high as 29 billion up to the end of 2020.
It takes around 450 years for the average bottle to biodegrade, and according to Recycle Now, if a year’s worth of the UK’s unrecycled plastic bottles were placed end to end, they’d reach around the world 31 times.
Alice Harlock, from Recycle Now said:
The number of plastic bottles not being recycled is staggering and will increase further if we don’t take action.
“Householders are often unsure if items are recyclable especially from the bathroom, bedroom and living room. An easy way to tell is, if an item is plastic and bottle shaped its recyclable.”
It is thought that many people aren’t sure of whether empty shampoos, bleach bottles, bathroom cleaners and hand soap dispensers can be recycled.
Recycle now is calling on the public to be more observant about what kind of household items can and cannot be recycled.
We need to challenge ourselves when it comes to what we could be recycling. Every plastic bottle counts. We’re asking people to think more about what they can recycle every time they go to put something in the waste bin.
“If you’re having a shower and using up the last of the shampoo – don’t just think replace, think Recycle. When you run out of your favourite moisturiser in the morning – don’t just think replace, think Recycle.”
If people are unsure about what they can recycle, they can check specific items using Recycle Now’s Recycling Locator.
Nearly every authority in the UK collects recycling from the home and in regards to plastic bottles it is recommended that:
- They are fully empty.
- That they have been thoroughly rinsed out.
- That the bottles are squashed to save space in the recycling bin.
- That water bottles are used multiple times.
- That plastic lids are also recycled alongside the bottles.
When bottles are recycled it takes 75 per cent less energy to produce new products.